Arsenic Poisoning in West Bengal : Betai Report



Unit-6 :
Haripur (Chika), Betai
Type of unit: AIIHPH
Families using: 300

Along with the same inconveniences as reported for No.-5, some villagers further complained that from the bleaching powder container due to precipitation the hole of dropping tap blocks and sometime no inflow of bleaching powder solution for a prolonged period. The villagers are not aware of the importance of bleaching powder addition.

Unit-7 :
Muktadaha Para, Betai
Caretaker: Jitendra Ghosh
Type of unit: AIIHPH
Families using: 150

This unit is located close to the Ashram. Although the villagers at the beginning was getting water free of cost but after a couple of months it was decided that every family will pay Rs. 5.0 (Rupees five) only per month for purchase of bleaching powder, aluminium sulfate and salary of Mr. Ghosh who maintains it. The villagers agreed to this suggestion. We expected a better management. The caretaker of the unit is a young boy Jitendra Ghosh (M/20). I asked him the difficulties and also the good side to run the unit. Mr. Jitendra Ghosh told me:

(a) It was decided that Mr. Ghosh would be paid some money to run the unit. The villagers think as he is paid for this, it is his duty to fill-up the tank and villagers prefer to come and collect water. Mr. Ghosh told time to time he fills up the tank without knowing that he has not added required amount of bleaching powder and aluminium sulfate (as he feels within 15 to 20 minutes).

(b) Although each family promised that they would pay Rs. 5/- per month but most of them do not pay. Mr. Ghosh never got his salary.

(c) Mr. Ghosh told no one would clean the plant if he will not do it.

(d) The villagers do not care whether aluminium sulfate and bleaching powder falling or not in the system. They believe that water coming from tap of the plant is good for drinking.

(e) To clean the unit it takes about 4 hours and after every 15 days when he cleans the tank he observes very dirty (brown) condition of the pebbles and time and again he finds small red coloured worms.

(f) After he fills-up the tank he observes at the surface some oily substance. We had also noticed it on 21st May 2000 during our field visit.

(g) Anima Ghosh of the area told that she found once small red-coloured worm when she took water for drinking from the unit.

(h) Mr. Ghosh feels that after cleaning, the system remains good for one week but after that the inner tank slowly turns dirty and he find worms inside the tank.